When it comes to fiction, Muslims are often left with very little choice when they try to find stories where Muslim characters are at the heart of the action. When such stories are available, many end up either reiterating some of the prevailing stereotypes about Muslims, or they attempt to dilute the very elements of our religious identity that make us who we are. As I’ve mentioned in a prior post, narratives matter.

The power that narratives hold comes from their ability to shape our identities, define our perspectives, and give a unique voice to groups. Whether used in memoirs and documentaries to convey true stories, or made-up ones in books, movies, television shows, and video games, narratives give us access to experiences that otherwise elude us. They allow us to gain a better understanding of the world we live in by introducing us to the multitude of realities that make up the human condition. At almost every level—from the family unit to the highest instances of political power—narratives are used to create a core identity that distinguishes us from others, and helps us strengthen social cohesion through the establishment of specific sets of values and norms. To control a narrative gives one the opportunity to influence the very perception of reality itself. Thus, narratives become in this context a possible site of oppression. It is imperative that we take charge of our own narrative and control it.

Muslim Futurism is one such attempt. This website is dedicated to exploring the world of Muslim fiction through a series of science fiction short stories with a dash of Muslim flavour. The aim being to craft a brand of storytelling placing Muslim characters, experiences, and narratives at the very heart of the story. Instead of trying to change the depiction of Muslims and Islam in the works of others, let us create our own creative outlets. There is not much we can do to stop the ongoing onslaught of vehement bigoted rhetoric, but there is much that we can do in creating a counter narrative that showcases the true nature of Islam, and the experiences of Muslims through our creative works.

 

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5 thoughts on “MUSLIM FUTURISM: Science fiction with a Muslim flavour

  1. Writing our own narratives are so important, not just to dispel stereotypes about Muslims, but also for ourselves. I am reading a book right now by a young Muslim woman and it’s refreshing to come across a story and characters I can actually relate to. Lately, I’ve been inspired to start (non-blog) writing again, but I am not exactly sure where/how to start. Is Muslim Futurism your initiative?

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    1. Well said Rafia. Indeed, writing for ourselves as the main target audience is very important. I really enjoyed your story in the Blue Minaret Magazine, you should definitely write more fiction. Maybe, try finding magazines looking for either fiction or essays and submit some of your work to them? Where you not working on a novel? I’d really love to read more from you.

      Muslim Futurism is an initiative of mine. You already know how much I love science fiction lool, so usually when I’m writing fiction it is in that genre. Unfortunately, I can’t find much Muslim science fiction. Muslim fiction is dominated by the romance genre. So, writing science fiction can be a lonely endeavour as a Muslim. Hopefully, this will be a way of creating a broader network of Muslim science fiction writers.

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      1. Thank you, Geeky! I think I will begin the daunting task of writing more. For a while, I got comfortable with just blogging, but I realize I want to do more. I just don’t know what or how. I’m so happy to know that you are pursuing writing in a genre that you love! I love exploring family dynamics – not necessarily romantic relationships of a young couple, which I find to be so saturated and just kinda hokey. Thanks for the boost of inspiration. I don’t know how you find time to do it all!

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    1. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of Muslim authors writing science fiction. There are no science fiction books that would fall in the category of Muslim futurism. For all intent and purpose the website mentioned in my post is the only one that is dedicated to that genre, so far. There are two Muslim authors who have achieved mainstream success, both of their works are more in the fantasy genre than science fiction though. Saladin Ahmed published “Throne of the crescent moon”, and G. Willow Wilson published Alif the unseen. Check out these books if you are interested in speculative fiction written by Muslims.

      If you are interested in reading more about the efforts being made in the science fiction genre by Muslim writers and artists, I would recommend the “Islam and science fiction” blog http://www.islamscifi.com. And of course, feel free to follow the Muslim Futurism blog for more short stories https://muslimfuturism450264352.wordpress.com

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